Born 80 years ago today, Nina Simone became a musical legend with her great talent and wide range. Today, we remember how very much she was capable of. Written by Linnea Crowther. Originally published April 2012.
Nina Simone's voice was like no other. Her rich, low tenor was rare among women – we usually expect high and light tones from female singers – but Simone made her low range soar. And she was more than a singer: she was also a classically-trained pianist, using both skills in her marvelous recordings.
The superstar of jazz and blues, gospel and folk died nine years ago today. In tribute to Simone's fantastic range as a performer, we're showcasing the wide variety of music she played.
Jazzy rock – a great piano-driven version of "Ain't Got No… I've Got Life" from the musical Hair.
Soulful ballad – "I Loves You Porgy" from Porgy and Bess was one of Simone's standards.
Blues – The lyrics to "Backlash Blues" were written by poet Langston Hughes, and they spoke to Simone's passion for the Civil Rights Movement.
Classic jazz – Another of Simone's standards was the perky love song "My Baby Just Cares for Me."